Current Status Around-the-World (International)
19 April 2013
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The Netherlands (2001) was the first country to legalize same-sex marriages, with the first marriages performed in the Amsterdam City Hall on 1 April 2001. Since then, same-sex marriage has been recognized legally by Belgium (2003), Spain (2005), Canada (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Portugal (2010), Iceland (2010), Argentina (2010), Denmark (2012), New Zealand (2013), Uruguay (2013) and France (2013). Same-sex marriage is legally recognized in Mexico City (2010) and in the Cancun area (2012), as well as in 11 Brazilian states.
Click name of continent to read marriage equality status for specific countries.
In the United States, same-sex marriages are recognized in its federal district, the District of Columbia (2010), and in eight states: Massachusetts (2004), Connecticut (2008), Iowa (for 4 hours in 2007 and from 2009 to the present), Vermont (2009), New Hampshire (2010), New York (2011), Washington (2012) and Maryland (2013). Same-sex marriage is legally recognized by three Native American tribal jurisdictions: Oregon's Coquille Tribe (2008), Washington state's Suquamish Indian tribe (2011) and Michigan's Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (2013). Please see our Current-Status- Marriage Map (U.S.) and Marriage Equality State-by-State pages for detailed information on marriage equality in the United States.
A federal law enacted in 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), prevents the U.S. federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, but this law is under challenge in the courts. On 23 February 2011 the Obama Administration stated that it would no longer defend DOMA. A DOMA-related case, United States v. Windsor, was heard by the United States Supreme Court on 27 March 2013. The Court's decision is due the end of June 2013.
Additonal resource from Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life: Gay Marriage Around the World